Scientific understanding about the motivations and behavior of so-called true ecotourists remains incomplete. This study examined the relationship between core values and tourists’ interest in tourism where nature is the focus of the experience, as well as their commitment to environmental conservation and protection. The empirical basis for this research involved a survey of 258 tourists holidaying on the Gold Coast in Australia. This study found that biospheric or biocentric values, focusing on the intrinsic worth of nature, are strongly associated with particular interest in ecotourism, tourism-specific pro-environmental attitudes, and commitment to environmental protection. Conversely, egoistic values, concerned primarily with self-interest, are associated with less interest in nature tourism, greater interest in hedonistic-type tourism activities, and less consumer support for environmental conservation and protection. The authors discuss evidence for the particular importance of values-based research in developing a theoretically grounded model of demand for ecotourism-type experiences.
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